UNIONTOWN, Pa. Thanks to a $750,000 Area Development Grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the labor and delivery unit at the WVU Medicine Uniontown Hospital will reopen in January 2025.

WVU Medicine Uniontown Hospital President, CEO, and executive vice president of health system integration and business development said the ARC money will be used to purchase the equipment needed to operate the unit.

“The WVU Medicine brand is extremely strong in Fayette County,” Willetts said. “The medical staff is highly engaged, and people desire to have health care close to where they live.”

In January of 2020, the hospital in Uniontown signed a letter of intent to join WVU Medicine as the single hospital battled regional medical care challenges. Since that time, Willetts said they have been adding services and lowering costs due to economies of scale within the WVU Medicine system.

“We’ve really infused services back into the community to generate growth and revitalize the organization, and over the last four years, that’s what we’ve done,” Willetts said.

The hospital offers more than 30 medical specialties and is an important market for WVU medicine and, more importantly, for the community members who rely on it.

“There are 130,000 people in Fayette County, and that’s the second largest market WVU Medicine serves,” Willetts said. “It’s second to Kanawha County.”

The Labor and Delivery unit will operate in a Labor, Delivery, and Recovery (LDR) model with five labor, delivery, and recovery rooms and 11 postpartum rooms, which are large and comfortable for family engagement. Willett said the addition will be an important resource for the people of Fayette County.

“There’s no place for them to have a baby (in Fayette County),” Willetts said. “There are about 1,200 babies born to residents in Fayette County every year, and today they either have to travel south to WVU Children’s Hospital in Morgantown or drive into the Pittsburgh region.”

Between now and January of 2025, Willett said they’ll hire two more doctors and complete the renovation, which is estimated to have a total cost of $5 million. The public can make donations to support the project through the WVU Foundation.

“We have two additional physicians coming on board,” Willetts said. “We’re completing a renovation; the unit exists, but it needs to be refreshed.”